COME TO JESUS JUST AS YOU ARE

Welcome! My name is Susan Osten, and I would like to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with you. God eagerly desires a loving relationship with you, but sin separates us from God:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23 (KJV)

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

Do want to be at peace with God?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1 (NIV)

But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV)

Jesus is the only way to God.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John14:6 (KJV)

Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness?

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.

I suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

Prayer of Salvation

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus to acknowledge that I am a sinner, and to repent of my sins; I need your forgiveness.  I believe that You’re the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary, and died for my sins. I confess that Jesus is the Lord of my life. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I believe according to Your Word, that I am saved.

Thank you, Jesus for your infinite grace and love which has saved me from my sins and given me eternal life.  Jesus, please transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to Your name. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!

May the Lord keep you faithful in the race all the way to the finish line.

PLEASE FIND A PLACE OF WORSHIP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (KJV)
In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

How God Provided Me With A Way Out Of Temptation

Satan is constantly, on the prowl for victims, but God’s Word says,

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will al provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

When I was much younger, I worked for a Real Estate Attorney. My co-worker sat right beside me. Almost every day, she would talk to me about how much fun she had going dancing and drinking. At that time in my life, I was divorced and vulnerable. I was a Christian but eventually, her words started wearing me down, spiritually.

I decided to put my Christian beliefs aside and go out with her. A couple of days before we were supposed to go dancing, I prayed and told God, if You don’t want me to go, tell me “I’m going the wrong way.” It was around lunchtime when I said that prayer, so I went to downstairs to the cafeteria and started to read my book. Shortly thereafter, I happened to look up from my book, and I saw a lady standing at the entrance to the cafeteria. When we made eye contact (it was a small cafeteria), she motioned for me to come over to her. I walked over to see what she wanted, and she told to me, “You are going the wrong way” and then she left. I was shocked and trembling. I went back upstairs and cancelled my outing with my co-worker.

God’s Word warns us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1  Peter 5:8 (KJV)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

The Parable of the Lost Son, Luke 15:17-24 (NIV)

“When he (the lost son) came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

How God Protected Me

“My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior – from violent people you save me. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:3-4 (NIV)

The phone call came at about 10 p.m. My husband, son and I were sleeping. My husband was a Locksmith, and it was a call to go and unlock someone’s car. My son, Jeremy and I got out of bed to wait for his return.

While waiting, I left the room to go to into bathroom, when all of a sudden, I ran down that hall, and no sooner than I got to the living room, there came a knock at my door. I went to the door, and said “Who is it?” and there was no answer. I looked through the peep hole in the door, and there was someone standing there wearing a black hoodie with his head down. All of a sudden, the door knob began to turn. I stayed by the door, and told my son to get our gun. After Jeremy gave me the gun, I told him to call the Police. When he had them on the phone, I took the phone, and explained the situation to them. The Police told me to shoot, if that man come through the door, and they were on their way. They arrived about 20 minutes later but, he was gone. Shortly, thereafter, my husband returned.

God protects His children! But when He speaks to you, it is very important to listen and to obey Him.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV) “But the Lord is faithful, and he will stengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

May the PEACE of GOD be with you;
May His LOVE overshadow you;
May His HOPE fill your heart;
And may His JOY be full in your soul.

I Samuel 2:9 (NIV) “He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darknes. It is not by strengh that one prevails;”

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan

The Holy Spirit – The Fruits of Longsuffering and Patience

Blessed Holy Spirit, You are Welcome here.

Longsuffering and/or Patience is the ability to endure hardships over long periods of time, it enables you to learn what the situation has to teach and builds character.  It is the ability to remain joyful and willing in spite of difficulty and persevere through to the end.

People like the Gifts of the Spirit, they like the fruits but when it comes to this fruit nobody is enthusiastic anymore. Nobody likes suffering, God however, is clear about this part of His nature and wants His children to bear fruit.

“The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…” Numbers 14:18 (KJV)

This is not human patience or longsuffering which runs out pretty quickly when there are no visible results, the Holy Spirit will put into you the longsuffering nature of God Himself.  You will be able to tolerate anything, so that love may win.

If you study the life of the Apostle Paul, the hardships he endured and the duration and nature of his suffering is enough to drive a normal person insane.  He was stoned alive, was in prison for long periods of time, was mercilessly beaten up, he was bitten by venomous snakes, shipwrecked etc.  There were time where he was sick and tired of life itself, yet he was faithful and patient till the end.  Nothing could cause him to lose focus from his primary task of spreading the Gospel. 

Moses, a man filled with the Holy Spirit led his people for 40 years, he started at the age of 80 and went on till he was 120.  He led a group of rebellious, thankless and murmuring people across the desert.  The setbacks he faced were huge, hi people rebelled against his authority, his family criticized him.  God, Himself got angry with him, yet in spite of all this he emerged as one of the greatest men in the Old Testament.

Longsuffering simply means suffering without end, but this suffering comes with the promise of hope.  Hope that God’s words and promises always comes through in the end.  Hope that whatever happens it’s for your good even though you may not understand now and hope that in spite of everything God has saved you and you have eternal life.

Biblical Inspiration

This is a story of Joseph, the son of Jacob a man blessed with the Holy Spirit.  He was one of the youngest and favorite among the 12 sons of his father.  God gave Joseph dreams which told him how he would one day be a great man and that his whole family would look up to him.

Joseph shared these dreams with his brothers and father.  His brothers became jealous of him and decided to kill him.  This would have been a grave crime according to their laws so they threw him into a pit.  They smeared his clothes with blood and told his father that he was dead.

Soon they decided to sell him off as a slave to a group of traveling merchants, Joseph finally ended up in Egypt as a slave.  Things got worse, he was soon falsely accused of adultery and thrown into prison for some time.  He however did not give up, all the years of hardship and living as a slave put character in him, this character was more valuable than refined gold.  God finally did elevate him to the post of the most respected official in Egypt.  He did go on to become the greatest among his brothers, he was the one who kept his family alive during the famine.  He left his father as a naïve teenager but reunited with him as almost an equal to pharaoh. He spend almost 15 years of his life in darkness with no visible signs of his dreams coming true, he persevered through things most people would have given up on.  His patience and trust in God’s promises were truly inspiring.

Life Application

  • Don’t resist or give up when you face setbacks or touch situations. There is a lesson to be learnt.
  • Always have hope, without hope life has no meaning.
  • Never give up, make sure that love always wins.
  • Never give up, make sure that love always wins.

Prayer

Comfort Me in Suffering

Loving God, I pray that you will comfort me in my suffering, lend skill to the hands of my healers, and bless the means used for my cure. Give me such confidence in the power of your grace, that even when I am afraid, I may put my whole trust in you; through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a Blessed and Hopeful day!

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Resource: The Holy Spirit by Blue Flames and Womansday.com

My Mom’s Miracle

Thank you, Heavenly Father for sparing my mom’s life.

When my mom was nineteen years old, she contracted Tubercular Meningitis on the brain.

MedlinePlus

Tuberculous meningitis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). The bacteria spreads to the brain and spine from another place in the body, usually the lung.

People who have the following, have a higher chance of developing tuberculous meningitis:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Drink alcohol in excess
  • TB of the lung
  • Weakened immune system

In my mom’s case, she had a weakened immune system because she was working a daytime job and a nighttime job.

Mom was admitted to the hospital, and she had to stay in bed, and lay flat on her back.

While in isolation with other patients who had the same illness, she watched everyone around her eventually, die. Mom said that she was the only person left alive. Mom also told me that she kept herself alive by eating everything in sight.

A year after she was admitted to the hospital, a cure was discovered. It was administered to mom, and a little while afterwards, the doctor told her she could live a normal life. Before she could leave the hospital, she had to learn to walk, again.

HOLD ON TO HOPE, NOT MATTER WHAT, AND DON’T LET GO OF GOD’S HAND! Miracles happen every day.

“Because he loves Me, I will rescue him; because he knows My Name, I will protect him. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him. I will be with him when he is in trouble. I will rescue him and bring him honor. I will satisfy him with long life and show him My salvation.”  Psalm 91:16

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

EXCERPT FROM Finding the Strength to Keep Fighting WHEN YOU HAVE A CHRONIC, INCURABLE ILLNESS

The MIGHTY

By Jo Moss

How do you find the strength to fight on when you have an incurable illness?

I’m an optimist, I’m a fighter and I’m a problem solver. But when you are struck down with an incurable and largely untreatable illness, where no amount of fighting will make you better, and your future is so uncertain, what do you do? How do you stay true to yourself and not give up? How do you wake up each morning and continue to fight? How do you stay optimistic when there appears to be no hope of recovery? How do you solve your problems when even the most intelligent minds do not know the cause of your illness? How do you convince yourself that tomorrow will be a better day, just to give you the strength to continue, when each day is such a struggle? How do you accept the limited life you have now, compared to the limitless one you once had?

You take one day at a time. You choose your battles and let go of the ones that serve no purpose except to exhaust you. You celebrate even the smallest achievements. You laugh when you can and cry when you need to. You learn to accept what you cannot control and work your hardest to change what you can. You learn your limitations and you adapt, but that doesn’t mean giving up. You appreciate each day because your future is so uncertain. You learn to forgive yourself and others. You learn compassion. You fight to raise awareness and understanding. You never lose hope because some days that’s all you have.

Living with a chronic illness is not a death sentence. It can be bloody hard but it makes you appreciate so much. It makes you appreciate your friends who have stuck by you even when you had given up on yourself. It makes you appreciate your family who love you no matter how many mistakes you make. It makes you appreciate your loving husband who didn’t sign up for this, who married an able-bodied, happy and healthy woman, but still loves you just the same. You appreciate every smile and every happy moment. You appreciate life. Take care.

The Holy Spirit – Accepting Jesus

The first step to becoming a Christian and getting filled with the Holy Spirit is accepting Jesus.  Every human being has sinned, it is impossible for a man to have lived without sin.  This sin separates us from God.  The sin in our lives also leads us to spiritual death.  The punishment for sin is death.  God is a fair judge, He does not act partially against specific people or specific sins.  He totally hates sin and all sin is wrong if God’s justice prevails.

The only thing greater than God’s justice is His mercy.  Jesus is God’s way of removing our sin, He gave us his only begotten son so that we may be forgiven and saved.  Jesus took upon himself the sins of the whole world and died as the penalty so that we may be set free and experience the love of God and have fellowship with him.

Acknowledging and repenting of sin is very simple. You need to own up to your actions and accept you were wrong.  You need to be sorry and deep down in your heart decide that you do not want to commit the sin again.  Next, tell God you are sorry, he can hear you anywhere.  You don’t have to be in church or before a priest when you confess.

God knows you’re likely sin again, it may be the same sin you just confessed some time ago.  The key here is to understand that god is willing to empower you and help you overcome your weaknesses provided you are truly sorry and you sincerely want to be set free.  God sees you heart and knows if you are playing games with Him.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (ESV)

God has proved how much He loves you by giving up his only beloved son to the death sentence so that you may enjoy life, the whole Bible is a love letter written by God telling you how much He loves you.  The question is will you accept God’s Love?  Will you accept Jesus Christ?

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

God’s solution is really simple, to accept Jesus you need to confess using your mouth that he is Lord and believe in your heart that he rose from the dead.  The minute you do this you are eligible to receive the Holy Spirit.

Life Application

  • Accept Jesus, if you have not already done so.  He is waiting with arms wide open for you.
  • It is the Holy Spirit that actually converts you soul and draws you to Jesus.
Jesus Loves You!
PRAYER OF SALVATION

If you prayed the prayer, above: welcome to the family of God!

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Resource: The Holy Spirit by Blue Flames

How Do I Know if I Received The Holy Spirit?

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22 (NIV)

We know we have received the Holy Spirit by the drastic changes that take place in our lives and an increased strength to overcome temptations.

It is important NOT to go by feelings or emotions in this area. You must have faith that when you ask God for something He promised you, He will most certainly give it to you.

Following are the signs that the Holy Spirit is working in your life:

  • You will be filled with the desire to pray and when you pray you are moved in prayer in ways that sometimes surprise you.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

  • You will have a desire to obey God, know what He says about sin and bear the fruit of the Spirit.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”  Galatians 5:6-12 (NIV)

Life by the Spirit

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:13-18 (NIV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV)

  • You will love others and show them acts of kindness as and when you have the opportunity.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 (NIV)

  • You will see the need to avoid things that are contrary to God’s way.

On Not Loving the World

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

Life Application

  • Don’t go by feelings and emotions, trust God and His Word. If He says He will give you the Holy Spirit, He will keep His promise.
  • Look out for subtle changes in your life, like an increased love for Jesus, a strong desire to pray and a great interest in reading the Word of God.
  • Observe closely, to sense the Holy Spirit working in your life.
  • Thank God for blessing you with the greatest gift you can ever receive.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Resource: The Holy Spirit by Blue Flames

The Holy Spirit – A Serious Biblical Warning

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:32 (NIV)

This is Jesus himself warning the people of his time, he is telling the people that although they speak against him, he loves them and is willing to forgive them, however he goes on to add that this will most certainly NOT be the case when people blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.

There are only 2 sins in the whole Bible that God says he will not forgive.  The first is blaspheming the Holy Spirit and the next one is accepting the Mark of the Beast as instructed in the Book of Revelations.

Unfortunately this also gets misused a lot, satan uses this often to trick believers and make them feel that they have committed an unpardonable sin and are condemned for ever.  The fact that you even think about this shows that God loves you and has not left you.

This warning applies specifically to the people who know who the Holy Spirit is, know Jesus and still take things for granted and make a mockery of his Holy Spirit  Our gracious God forgives almost anything but takes a few things very seriously and this is one of them.

A sure sign that the Holy Spirit has condemned you and left you, is that you no longer feel guilty when you sin.  You will be able to do the most gruesome and brutal things and feel no remorse, the inner voice or conscience is totally dead.  There are many people who fall into this category, whom you can see in the world today.

Real Life Inspiration

Many years ago, a man of God was offering intercessory prayers for a gathering of people with problems and diseases in a church.  At that time they brought in a lady, considered to be devout and pious.  She was suffering from bronchial asthma for the past thirty years.  The servant of God was touched and really wanted to help her , he prayed for her with tears and great compassion.  While praying God revealed something to him, he abruptly stopped his prayer once he saw this.

He told the lady with anguish “Madam, 30 years ago, a group of workers for Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit came to your town and preached in your street.  But you went around visiting all the houses in your town, one by one, spreading the rumor that those people were filled with evil spirits and they should not be accepted.  With this false propaganda, you drove the gospel team out of your town.  You have committed an unforgivable sin, as it is against the Holy Spirit.  Only from that time, you have been suffering from this terrible disease”.  She broke down and cried and admitted it was true.

This man was no ordinary man, he was a mighty man of God.  He has healed thousands of people in his time, his meetings were known to attract millions of people from across the world.  God himself has told this man that anything he asked for, on behalf of the people out of compassion would be granted.  This man could not intercede successfully when someone knowingly blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

Life Application

  • Be very careful when speaking of the Holy Spirit, do not take for granted God’s love for you.
  • Do not put people at risk by indulging the to mock the Holy Spirit of God.
  • Respect others who are filled with the Holy Spirit and do not slander or speak ill of them.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Resource: The Holy Spirit by Blue Flames

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Why Do I Need The Holy Spirit?

One of the first things the Holy Spirit does is he takes the love of God and makes it personal.  It no longer is “He loves the world, but does he love me?”.  You will begin to realize how precious you are as a person to God.  You will know first-hand the amount of care, compassion and planning that God has put into your life and how he continues to monitor each and every detail about you.  The Holy Spirit makes you feel special, the more you get to know Him, the more you need him.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  John 14:26 (KJV)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”  John 16:13 (KJV)

The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus to you, he gives you power and boldness to spread the Gospel.  You are no longer ashamed to share God with others. There are a lot of other ways in which he makes your life better.  Given below is a list, which can be verified with scripture, but is not complete.  There are other unique ways that he helps you which are left out for you to discover.

“By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”  Acts 4:33-35 (KJV)

  • He brings God’s presence to you, your relationship with God gets really deep and soon becomes the best part of your life.
  • He teaches you God’s Word (The Bible), you begin to understand things like never before, you also begin to hunger for more.
  • Your prayer life is transformed, you pray much better and when using the gift of tongues your prayers are guaranteed to be effective. The quality of your prayers will amaze anyone listening, even yourself at times.
  • You receive peace, you are not disturbed easily, the things of this world no longer affect you as they used to.  You become a much more stable person, emotions like anger or depression don’t affect you like they used to.
  • He can reveal the future to you, if you are mature and know how to handle what he tells you, He will show you things before they happen.
  • The Holy Spirit restores and renews you, he picks you up when you sin. He refreshes you when you are tired and weary.
  • Gives you wisdom and understanding which is not humanly possible.  He allows you to see through people into their real motives and also look past situations and see the big picture.
  • He increases your faith.  You will begin to expect and see a lot more miracles in your life.  You can notice levels of faith that was never possible before he came into your life.
  • He improves the quality of your life, the starting point does not matter, he increases your intelligence, your physical strength and energy levels. 
  • He brings you to your inheritance, he helps you mature as a Christian and over time you begin to realize just how much God has done for you.  As you experience it, your love for Him increases and your praises, thanksgiving and worship become a lot deeper.
  • He brings about excellence in your life, when the Holy Spirit is in control of your life there is no room for mediocrity, he takes great pleasure in bringing excellence in your life in whatever you do.  Over time your life will become so fantastic, that just by looking at you many people will be drawn to God.  He makes you a Champion in life!!

Some of these benefits become immediately apparent, a few of them begin to manifest over a few short months, but the best of them need time to develop, sometimes years.  The key here is don’t ever give up, treasure and cherish your walk with God and honor and respect the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit also helps you when you decide on tough situations in your life.  He can help answer questions like…

  • Who has God chosen to be your life partner/spouse in this life You can choose your own but it will never match up to what God has instore for you.
  • When to stick on to your current job and when to move on to the next job or task God has in store for you.  God’s timing and wisdom is perfect.
  • How to solve problems relating to people or situation or tasks/projects that you may face from time to time in your business or career or study.
  • How to handle issues in your marriage and in your other relationships.. What is impossible for you is possible with God.
  • How to respond to crisis in life like if you lost your job or if your business is doing badly.  Sometimes the problem itself may not vanish, but you begin to grow and the problem begins to look small and you get the strength to deal with it.
  • When to share Jesus (The Gospel) with someone and when not to. This is very important, it is possible that you may scare people off or push them farther away if you don’t know how and when to bring Jesus up.  The Holy Spirit lovingly guides you.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Acts 2:38 (KJV) 55

If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and you desire to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, pray from the bottom of your heart, the following prayer:

Prayer

Dear Jesus, please send Your Holy Spirit to me. Fill me afresh with the power of Your Spirit and heal every wounded part of my life, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit come afresh upon my life, today. Sweet Holy Spirit, I want to be connected to you forever. Enrich me with Your gifts and quicken me and increase my desire for the things of heaven. Holy Spirit, begin to burn away self-centeredness in me, and breathe your life-giving breath into my soul. Jesus, thank you for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for answering my prayer. Amen.

You will lead many to Jesus, and signs and wonders will follow you.

If you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to email me. My email address is susan@jesusiswaitingwithopenarms.com.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Resource: The Holy Spirit by Blue Flames

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” I Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)

INTRODUCTION: A year or so, after I became a Christian, I was sitting in the congregation of my church, listening to a guest speaker. When he finished speaking, he asked me to stand up and one of the things he said to me was, “God was going to lead and guide me in the most unusual ways.”

The Bible says,

“…Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 2 Chronicles 20:20 (NIV)

Jehoshaphat spoke these words to Juda and to the people of Jerusalem. I kept this scripture close to my heart.

My prayer for you is that as you read this blog, you will be strengthened, spiritually, the Holy Spirit will increase your faith, and give you a deeper desire to pray and ask Him to show you the gift, He has bestowed upon you.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”  1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

The Gift of Knowledge

A word of knowledge is a definite conviction, impression, or knowing that comes to you in a similitude (a mental picture), a dream, through a vision, or by a Scripture that is quickened to you. It is supernatural insight or understanding of circumstances, situations, problems, or a body of facts by revelation; that is, without assistance by any human resource but solely by divine aid.

Following are 3 examples of a Word of Knowledge the Holy Spirit imparted to me when I was praying for my next door neighbor, a lady I met in a laundromat and a lady I prayed for at church.

1) One morning, my neighbor came over to have a cup of coffee with me. She had some needs, so I asked her if I could pray for her. She said, “Yes” so I took her hands in mine and I began to pray for her. As I prayed, I saw a picture of an “Umbilical Cord”. I stopped praying, and told her what I had seen. She was flabbergasted. She told me she was pregnant, but she had not told a soul. It’s apparent that the Word of Knowledge increased both my faith and my neighbor’s faith that day.

2) I met a lady in a laundromat. She was having some problems, so I asked her if I could pray for her. She said, “yes”. Laying my hands upon her, I began to pray for her. As I was praying, I saw a dog hanging from a tree. I stopped praying and told her what I saw. She replied, “Someone had hung her dog from a tree.” I’m sure it was comforting to her to know that God saw what happened and at the same time, it was a healing experience for her.

3) I was praying for a lady at church, and the Holy Spirit showed me a beautiful, jeweled broach. I stopped praying and I told her, “Something very precious was taken from her.” She replied, “I was molested.”

The Gift of Healing

My sister’s mother-in-law was in the hospital, in a coma. They did not think she was going to wake up. I went to the hospital to visit her. I decided to pray for her, so I layed my hand on her forehead and prayed – she awoke.

Demonic Activity

1) I was praying the Sinner’s Prayer” with who is now my ex-husband, and someone started yelling, “I am the devil” over and over, until it interrupted our prayer. There was no way anyone could have seen us praying because all our windows had closed curtains.

2) I was alone, and working on my phone in my recliner, and I noticed the volume was getting louder on the TV. I looked up, and I watched the volume bar on my TV move to the right until it reached its loudest position. I quickly, jumped up and turned off the TV.

3) I was working on my Computer editing a profile picture for one of my Scleroderma Facebook Pages. When I noticed the lady in the profile picture was shooting the finger at me. I was shocked, it caught me off guard, I didn’t think of taking a photo. What did I do? I got up from my computer and walked around, while doing a mental self-check.

When I walked back over to my computer, she was still shooting the finger at me. I stopped what I was doing and closed that project.

This is a picture of the lady who shot the finger at me.

4)  I was working on my phone, and I noticed Alexa had turned yellow and was swirling. Now, I know when she does that she’s updating. Even so, I said, “Alexa what are you up to?” I knew she couldn’t talk right there and then, so I looked over at my husband’s tablet a few feet away from me. I don’t know how I knew to do that.  Written on his tablet was the words, “I don’t have a body, what are you watching?” My husband was sitting right next to his tablet, so I asked him to look to see if he saw the same thing I did, and he said, “yes”.

5)  Facebook and Gmail

FACEBOOK:  It was a Saturday, and I felt that I needed to delete all of my posts on Facebook. The posts went back almost nine years, and I wanted a new beginning. As I began deleting the posts, I found that a lot of them were scrambled and had advertisements attached to them – they were a mess. When I reached the very bottom of my Facebook page, I found another man’s name and birthdate, instead of mine. I couldn’t delete it or change the name, so occasionally, I checked on it until the name and birthdate changed to my birthdate. The task was very time consuming, but I was  relieved when it was done. I still have a few old posts that pop up every now and then, at the end of my page, but I’m not worried about them. I’ll get to them when I can. It was a little disconcerting, when I saw that man’s name and birth date at the end of my Facebook page. I can’t remember his name or birthdate, go figure. I’ve been told numerous times to keep a journal: I do now. I didn’t think about asking Facebook about it. I just kept my mouth shut and watched.

GMAIL:  My next project, required me to use my Gmail account. When I went to log into my Gmail account, the Holy Spirit said, “Open your Gmail account, differently.” The only thing I could think to do was to go out to Gmail’s “Official Website” and click on Gmail. I did so, and without it even asking me for my email address or password, it opened an account that belonged to me, under the name of Susan Barrington, which I thought was deactivated a long time ago. I had no idea this account still existed. It was dark inside this Gmail account, but I could still see my way around. The best way I can think of to describe what I was seeing to you is it was like looking into a darkened box 11″ x 4″. I saw one wire hanging down inside. I decided to look around, and I found my husband’s Gmail account was linked to it, so I deleted his account. I found nothing else of importance and was about to exit, when suddenly, something that looked like an index card which was about 4″ x 4″ popped  up out of nowhere. It had the “Petition to Congress” logo on it, along with a photo of me. I’ve used the “Petition to Congress” for Scleroderma, so I was very familiar with the logo. After seeing that, I quickly, deactivated the Gmail account, and emailed Google, asking them to be sure that the account was closed for good.

6) In the afternoon on Monday, September 7th, I was getting dressed in the bathroom. All of a sudden, I heard knocks, I tried to locate what part of the bathroom they were coming from, but the knocks kept jumping around from panel to panel in the bathroom – we have 7 panels and/or walls in our bathroom. I stepped outside the bathroom to see if I could still hear the knocks. Yes, I heard the knocks, but they were coming from the bathroom. The knocks stopped after about 2 minutes. Coincidentally, I had just recently, finished my blog entitled: Spiritual Warfare with Demonic Spirits.

My Dream, My Vision, Extreme Silence, & My Mom’s Death

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18 (NIV)

My Vision:  1989 San Francisco-Oakland Earth Quake

In 1977, shortly, after I became a Christian, I had a vision while I was driving. In front of me, freeways where collapsing before my eyes. I was scared to death. I started ducking because the freeways appeared to be getting closer and closer to  me. I didn’t have a wreck and I can’t remember how I got home that day. It was an unforgettable event. I have never had another tragic vision, with my eyes wide open.

In 1989, I was watching the World Series. When I heard about the earth quake on TV and saw the freeways had collapsed in San Francisco, I immediately, remembered the vision that I had 12 years earlier.

My Dream:  The Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

The night of August 30 1997, I had a dream. I was flying across the ocean at a tremendous amount speed, very close to the water. When I looked ahead of me, I saw the flashing lights of emergency vehicles everywhere.

  • In the early hours of 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in hospital after being injured in a car crash in a road tunnel in Paris, France;
  • Diana was 36 years old. Her death caused a substantial outpouring of worldwide grief, and her funeral was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people

Extreme Silence:  Sumatra, Indonesia 2004 Tsunami

It was around 8:30 p.m., Christmas Eve in 2004 – I was walking my dogs. No sooner than I put my foot on the sidewalk to begin my walk, I sensed a strange silence, it was an extreme silence. I pondered it and wondered what is going on, it’s Christmas Eve!

When the tsunami hit Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26th, I knew then, why I had sensed that silence.

  • Tsunamis killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries;
  • Waves 100 ft high;
  • The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history;
  • It caused the planet to vibrate as much as 10 millimeters (0.4 inches), and it remotely triggered earthquakes as far away as Alaska;
  • The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response, with donations totaling more than US $14 billion.

My Mom’s Death

My mom died on April 11, 2011 at around 11:00 a.m. About 10 minutes before she passed away, my sister-in-law was folding towels in the living room, my dad was beside my mother and I was leaning up against the wall in mom’s bedroom. I called to my sister-in-law and said, “Mom is about to pass.” My sister-in-law stopped what she was doing and walked into my mom’s bedroom. She kneeled down beside my mom’s bed, and took hold of my mom’s hand and bowed her head. About a minute and a half later, she went to heaven. I remember the day she called me and said, “I have asked Jesus to come into my heart.” I could sense it in her voice – she was so calm and at peace. Thank you, Jesus!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Believers do no control when, where, or how the Gifts of the Spirit will operate. It is totally up to the Holy Spirit. He is in control, but we must make ourselves available to Him by listening for His direction and then stepping out in faith and obeying Him.

The gifts of the Spirit are simply God empowering faithful Christians to do what He has called us to do.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are part of “everything we need” to accomplish His plans for our lives.

In ✝️Christian Love, Susan Osten

Susan Osten’s † Testimony

I was fifteen years old, when I realized that I loved God, and wanted to serve Him. I decided to ask my dad about becoming a Nun. He told me there were many ways to serve God, and he handed me a Bible. He told me the Bible would answer all my questions about God. Some nights, I would read the Bible my dad gave to me under one of the lamp posts, near my house.

I didn’t follow through with my desire to serve God. Instead, I succumbed to peer pressure and I began to hang around with a group of godless teenagers: thereby, I also became a godless teenager. I used drugs, disobeyed my parents, ran away from home, skipped school, etc. My life “ethically” spiraled out of control.

It wasn’t until I was nineteen years old, that things started to fall into place regarding my relationship with God. It was Spring time, and I remember driving down the highway looking at all the beautiful flowers, while at the same time, I was wondering, “What could I do to feel as pretty inside as those flowers looked outside.” I felt so dirty. After I became a Christian, I realized that “dirty” feeling was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

A few days later, I was ironing and watching the television. I was listening to Pat Robertson, the host of the 700 Club. Pat asked a question that got my attention, immediately. He asked, “Is there anyone out there who has not asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart, and to forgive their sins?” Then he extended an invitation to those in the audience and to those watching him on TV, who had not asked Jesus for forgiveness, to pray the “Prayer of Salvation” with him. I prayed. When we finished praying, Pat encouraged all those who prayed, to call somebody that they knew and/or call the 700 Club and tell them that they had just prayed the “Prayer of Salvation.”

“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10 (NIV)

I called the 700 Club. The lady who answered the phone was happy for me. As we were wrapping up our conversation, she asked me, “Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” I told the her, no and I asked her to mail some information to me about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

As the days passed, I began to read my Bible, regularly. I found that I needed to be baptized in water.

Water baptism is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.

I had no church affiliation, and I didn’t know what church to call, to baptize me. I decided to open the telephone book to Churches, close my eyes and point. When I opened my eyes, my finger was on a church called: Full Gospel Fellowship. I called that church, and asked the Pastor to baptize me in water. He was happy to do so, and he told me what time to be at the church service for the baptism. When I went into the church, the people were very friendly. I was baptized and afterwards, I decided to join the church. Coincidentally, 🙂 it wasn’t very far from where I lived.

It had been several weeks since I joined my church, and after one of the services, Tina, one of the Elder’s wives asked me, if I would like to have a Ladies Bible Study in my home. I had a hunger to learn more about God and His Word, so I told her, yes. About a week later, we had the Bible Study, in my home. At the end of the Bible Study, Tina asked me, “Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” I told her, no and she asked me, “Would you like to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” I was a little embarrassed, because I didn’t know what to expect, so I declined.

After everyone went home, I began to think about Tina’s question. I came to the conclusion, that if God had more to offer me: I wanted it. I got down on my knees and asked God to baptize me with the Holy Spirit. God answered my prayer. I was so excited! I went to the telephone to call one of my friends and tell them the Holy Spirit was real. I picked up the receiver, and my legs buckled. I dropped the receiver and slid down the wall, to the floor.

After a while, I found that many of my friends weren’t as happy for me as I thought they’d be, but that didn’t slow me down. I had more “ZEAL” than wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word, and I didn’t know anything, about being led by the Holy Spirit. I began to witness for Jesus and I suffered some major bumps and bruises. Even so, “Praise God” I was able to lead some people to Jesus.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a blessing from God which causes ordinary people to become extraordinarily, effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, LORD, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:5-8 (KJV)

By it, God equips believers today with the same power we read about in the New Testament. Since the Day of Pentecost. Please read the second chapter of Acts.

God’s plan has been to supernaturally equip every believer, so that the ministry of Jesus Christ may continue through us.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12 (KJV)

His ascension into heaven:

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9 (KJV)

did not mean that Jesus’ ministry on earth stopped, but rather it was an essential step which released even more of His ministry. As the Head of His Church He now directs growing multitudes of Spirit-empowered men and women to carry His Gospel around the world:

“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49 (KJV).

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the impartation of this necessary power so that God’s servants can carry out their calling.

They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. And they did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.” Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” Matthew 7:7 (KJV)

“The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.”  Isaiah 65:1 (NLT)

Barnes’ Notes: God states in general that he had called another people who had not sought him, and extended the blessings of salvation to those who had been strangers to his name Isaiah 65:1. This is evidently intended to show that many of his ancient people would be rejected, and that the blessings of salvation would be extended to others, Romans 10:20.

The blessing of salvation is being extended to you, the reader. If you haven’t met Jesus Christ, and you wish to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and ask Him into your heart, please go to my blog entitled: COME TO JESUS JUST AS YOU ARE…

Jesus is ready to respond!

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

In 2 Peter 1:4, What does Peter mean by “partakers of the divine nature”?

It means being made partakers of his godliness, his character, his likeness, his virtues.

2 Peter 1:3-4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

To understand the full context of the scripture we need to go to other scriptures.

Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

We are made partakers of his divine nature by being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God. That is the character of God was in Christ and the same character is in every true believer.

1 John 2:5-6, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

That is to say that the sign or evidence that the redemptive work has taken effect in us is his life, virtues and works projected through us. In other words Christianity is a projection of the life of Jesus Christ in his redeemed. This scripture is telling us being partakers of his likeness is projected in our walking like him. We will refer to some other scriptures:

1 John 4:17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

The above scripture of 1 John 4:17 is telling us being partakers of his divine nature is also being partaker of his likeness. When one is made a partaker of God’s divine nature, Christ lives and walks in you.

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
 

A person that is a partaker of God’s divine nature is God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:10,22, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. […] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Being made partakers of his divine nature means also being partakers of the works of the Spirit:

John 3:6,8, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. […] The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

John 14:10,12, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. […] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

A Christian without the gifts of the Holy Spirit is like a man that has a job to do but doesn’t have the tools. The spiritual tools of God are the gifts of the Spirit which He wants exercised in full by all of His children. He repeatedly demonstrated His will through the prophets, through Jesus Christ, and through early believers.  He has repeatedly promised such power to every believer.

In Luke 24:49, Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he told his disciples:

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

In the scriptures below, Paul the Apostle, is asking believers, if they have received the Holy Spirit, since they believed:

Acts 19:1-6, “…Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?  And they said unto him,  We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?  And they said, Unto John ‘s baptism.  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.”

and their reply was “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” and then Paul laid hands on them, so they would receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the spiritual tools (the gifts of the Holy Spirit), to do God’s work.

There are 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1 Corinthians 12:7-11, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

The partakers of his divine nature are a part of the good tree that bears good fruit:

Matthew 7:15-18,20,21, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. […] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

The moment anything is born it has certain powers of its parents.  The offspring of a fish can swim and live in water; the bird can fly; and the dog can bark.  It would be a miracle for the dog to live in water or the fish to live and fly in the sky.  This would be contrary to nature.  It is likewise contrary to nature that men can be born of God spiritually and partake of His nature and live and act contrary to the nature of God.  The children of God should manifest a supernatural nature in life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and through faith in the name of Jesus Christ and His atonement. God has provided the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit for such manifestation of divine life in His children.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Sources: Bible Hermeneutics

The Holy Spirit Helps Others Using You

The Holy Spirit not only helps you but also other people who you come in contact with.  Once you are filled with the Holy Spirit you become a blessing to others.  The Holy Spirit flows through you and touches the lives of others, it may not be obvious to you but many lives will be touched through you.

Prayer and Intercession

“…for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  Romans 8:26

The quality of your prayer life greatly increases once you are filled with the Holy Spirit.  He will put in your thoughts images of people you know, during your prayer time.  This means that the person is in need of prayer and intercession.  That person itself may be unable to pray or not know what to pray for, but you will be able to pray in tongues for them.

Gifts of the Spirit

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  I Corinthians 12:7

The Holy Spirit also gives you gifts or manifestations of  the Spirit.  You will be able to give people prophecy or wisdom or heal physical illnesses through these gifts.  These gifts help in two ways, they demonstrate the power of God to the people while also helping them with needs in their lives.

Generosity and Compassion

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;” 1 Timothy 6:18

You become more generous and compassionate towards others.  You feel like helping people with what you have and also know whom to help and whom not to.  You begin to empathize more deeply with people and the problems they face.

The Presence of God

As you mature as a believer, and lead a holy life you begin to carry with you the presence of God.  Without you doing anything people around you can sense and feel God’s love and presence.  You transform into a gateway that can bring heaven down to earth.

Real Life Inspiration

The Holy Spirit often puts in your mind a person who is known to you, this often happens when you are praying.  The reason is that the person may be in trouble or difficulty and needs prayers.

Once there was a man of God who was saying his prayer and as he was deep in prayer he could feel that God put the name of a lady he once knew well in his mind.  This lady had moved to another city and they had lost touch for over 10 years.

Deep down he knew God wanted to touch this person so he prayed for her.  He also felt praying was not enough and he was moved in his Spirit to do more.  He then tried calling her but as he did not have any contact information, he called people in her home town and also tried looking through the phone directory.  Soon he found the number and called her, she picked up and they exchanged the usual hello and he told her that as he prayed, he felt God speaking to him and putting compassion in his heart for her.  She immediately hung up.

The man of God was taken aback, he did not expect this.  He was now not sure it was even God any more.  Soon he got a call back from the lady who was in tears, she said that she was having a really bad time and that she and her husband just lost their house.  The house was being repossessed due to a loan and they had a lot of other issues going on in their personal lives.

This lady had preached about Jesus to many lives in the past.  She helped the church in many ways, now she felt that when she is in such deep crisis and nobody cares.  She was disappointed and felt that even God forgot about her.  She was praying that IF THERE IS A God, he can easily get someone to comfort her now, as she had comforted so many people before.

That was exactly when the phone rang.  She was so taken aback that she hung up.

The lady apologized  to her old friend as he comforted and encouraged her.  They prayed for each other and hung up.  This is an example of how the Holy Spirit can use you to bring comfort and joy to others.  The timing and perfection of his ways will never cease to amaze you.

Life Application

  • You have the ability to bring the power of God into the lives of others, take time out and consciously pray for others
  • Take the initiative and ask God if he wants to touch anybody using you each day

If you have not asked Jesus to come into your heart, and you would like to, please go to my blog: COME TO JESUS JUST AS YOU ARE.

In †Christian Love, Susan Osten

Source: Blue Flames

Let’s Get Real!



“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
 
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,” 2 Thessalonians 1:9

If you wish to ask Jesus into your heart, please go to my
blog: “COME TO JESUS JUST AS YOU ARE.”

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Just Be Nice

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

Be thoughtful in your speech. Your words have the power to bring a smile to someone's face or even fuel them onward regardless of the circumstances they're facing.
Be thoughtful in your speech. Your words have the power to bring a smile to someone’s face or even fuel them onward regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

“Just be nice” has been seen as a bumper sticker and on t-shirts. The sentiment probably strikes a chord with all who read it, because it is easier for us to NOT be nice. It’s easier to be critical or insensitive or judgmental.

If we are to be obedient to God’s laws and the words he gave to the prophets, if we are to do to others what we want them to do to us-we need to “just be nice.” Jesus told us in John 13:34-35, to “love one another,” and of course, we try our best. Some of us may have to start loving others by just trying to be nice. Without God’s Holy Spirit living within us, our sin nature takes charge, and it is anything but nice. We find fault, we think mean thoughts, we keep track of wrongs, etc. When we allow the Holy Spirit to change our nature to one that is “nice” -one that is sensitive to others’ needs, appreciates differences in personality and talents, and encourages and motivates others-the Lord will give us the words, a smile, and an expression of love that will make our world a nicer place for each of us to live and share the gospel of salvation and eternal life.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Source: Revolution Devotional

Children Get Scleroderma, too!

For more information about  children’s Scleroderma, visit the Juvenile Scleroderma Network @ http://www.jsdn.org/.

WHAT IS SCLERODERMA: Scleroderma is a rare, debilitating autoimmune disease for which there is NO CURE. It’s often progressive and sometimes, fatal. It affects every age and gender and it’s neither preventable or contagious. It confuses the best of the medical field by making it difficult to diagnose. Scleroderma attacks the Circulatory System, cutting off blood flow to extremities, resulting in Gangrene and amputation. It affects the Gastrointestinal Tract, Heart, Kidneys, Lungs, and Esophagus. Scleroderma causes hardening, thickening, and tightening of the skin which oftentimes, causes devastating results to one’s facial appearance and one’s mobility. Scleroderma steals people’s freedom, jobs, families, friends, and lives. For more information about Scleroderma, visit The Scleroderma Foundation @ http://www.scleroderma.org.

If you would like to make a donation to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, please click on http://www.srfcure.org. Thank you for your “Generosity!”

Awareness is the Greatest Agent for Change!

God is Smiling at You!

You can read a lot from people’s faces, can’t you? Without ever hearing a word, you can sense irritation, pleasure, doubt, worry, and fear. You can sense condemnation, too. You can tell if someone is angry with you before a word is said. How good are you at forgiving people who have done you wrong? Not so hot? Do you hold grudges sometimes?

Sometimes we assume that that’s how God looks at us—never really forgiving completely, still angry, still remembering our moral failures. If we try to imagine his face, we fear that He is frowning. Instead of being fearful and imagining a frown when you talk to God, imagine that God is smiling at you.

God eagerly desires a loving relationship with you. That’s why He arranged for our wrongs to be placed on the head of an innocent substitute, His own Son, Jesus. That’s why He instructed Moses to speak words of kindness to the believers and bless them like this:

“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:” Numbers 6:25 (KJV)

May God give you communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with a constant sense of His approval; and grant you prosperity in your soul, and in all your secular affairs! He loves you!

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

How Do I know Which of God’s Promises Are For Me?

Question: “How do I know which of God’s promises are for me?”

Answer: There are literally hundreds of God’s promises in the Bible. How can we know which promises apply to us, which promises we can claim? To frame this question another way, how can one tell the difference between general promises and specific promises? A general promise is one that is given by the Holy Spirit to every believer in every age. When the author penned the promise, he set no limitations on time period or recipient.

An example of a general promise is…

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This promise is based on the forgiving nature of God and is available to all believers everywhere. Another example of a general promise is…

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This promise is made to all believers who, refusing to worry, bring their requests to God (v. 8). Other examples of general promises include Psalm 1:3; 27:10; 31:24; John 4:13-14 (note the word “whoever”); and Revelation 3:20.

A specific promise is one that is made to specific individuals on specific occasions. The context of the promise will usually make clear who the recipient is. For example, the promise of…

1 Kings 9:5 is very specific: “I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever.” The preceding and following verses make it clear that God is speaking only to King Solomon.

Luke 2:35 contains another specific promise: “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

This prophecy/promise was directed to Mary and was fulfilled in her lifetime. While a specific promise is not made to all believers generally, the Holy Spirit can still use a specific promise to guide or encourage any of His children. For example, the promise of Isaiah 54:10 was written with Israel in mind, but the Holy Spirit has used these words to comfort many Christians today: “my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”

As he was led to take the gospel to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul claimed the promise of Isaiah:

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47).

Isaiah’s promise was originally meant for the Messiah, but in it Paul found guidance from the Lord for his own life. When claiming one of God’s promises from Scripture, we should keep the following principles in mind:

1) God’s promises are often conditional. Look for the word “if” in the context.

2) God gives us promises to help us better submit to His will and trust Him. A promise does not make God bend to our will.

3) Do not assume to know precisely when, where, or how God’s promises will be fulfilled in your life.

Source: Got Questions

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Take Captive Every Thought

The Bible tells us to take every thought captive.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV)

That means that we have a chance to do something about all thoughts that are not well-pleasing to God, before they enter our hearts and become a part of us!

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

The Potter & The Clay

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

God is continually, molding and shaping us, so that we will be transformed into the image of the Son of God.

He uses many different methods to transform us. Some of the methods God used in my life are as follows:

1) My Vocation:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

I had to work to help support my family. My education consisted of a GED and some college. I worked in the corporate world, in Human Resources (Health & Welfare and Financial Benefits.) Because of the level of my education, I had to work twice as hard. At times, it really annoyed me, so I would repeat Colossians 3:23-24 over and over to myself, during working hours, until it became a part of me. God blessed me with raises and good reviews. To this day, I keep that scripture close to my heart.

2.)  My Co-workers, Friends and Family:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

3.) Suffering:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

I was nineteen years old, when I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my Life. About six months later, my husband abandoned me. He said, “I don’t want any part of Christianity.” I was devastated! In my early 20’s, I became pregnant, which resulted in a Tubal Pregnancy, which caused me to hemorrhage. I had emergency surgery, just in time to save my life. A few months after surgery, I became ill and I had to have a Hysterectomy. Over the years, I’ve lost almost everything I owned, four times, except for a few personal items, the clothes in my closet and some furniture. When I was in my 40’s, I became very ill and was hospitalized three times. I could no longer work outside the home. I’ve cried many tears in my lifetime, but each painful situation was teaching me patience. God, comforted me, provided my needs and healed my emotional wounds. My suffering changed my heart of stone into a compassionate heart.

One of the greatest evidences of God’s love to those that love Him is, to send them afflictions, with grace to bear them. John Wesley

4.) Prayer

I was praying in the Spirit…

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)

and an indescribable “Grief” came over me. That experience has forever changed me.

5.) God’s presence in my life and His LOVE that’s wrapped around me.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.” Romans 8:37-39 (NIV

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:7-8 (NIV)

Paul wrote that being transformed into the image of the Son of God is a process, and it takes time and is a constant struggle over resisting sin. He wrote,

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV).

So we see that this is an ongoing process throughout our lives. We shouldn’t grow discouraged because it takes time–a lifetime, in fact–and we will never achieve a total transformation into holiness until He appears. Then we shall finally be like Him, or as John wrote,

“We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 (NIV)

Paul’s words are an enormous encouragement to us:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

Please apply Paul’s words to those things which pertain to the glory of God and our peace and endurance through Christ unto the salvation of our souls.

Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14 (AKJV)

PRAYER

Father,

I want to win the race you have marked out for me. I am done with limping along. I will take the steps of faith necessary to strip away everything that has impeded my progress. Speak to me now as I quiet myself before you. With the help of your mighty hand, I will remove the obstacles in my path so I can run with strength, stamina and staying power. And make me a source of encouragement for others as we all follow Jesus together in this great marathon! With faith in You, I will win. Amen.

by Mark and Jill Herringshaw

“…Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Spiritual Warfare Against Demonic Spirits

I want to give you some very basic verses from the Bible showing you the importance Jesus places on evil spirits, so that we realize the reality of demonic spirits in this world, and that we are not to be afraid to engage them when we do run across them in this life.

Below, are 8 very powerful verses from the Bible. All showing us that we are not to be afraid of demons, and that we are to directly engage them, operating under Jesus’ authority and anointing.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe. In my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

“Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee … the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:14-18)

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1)

“And He called the twelve to Him, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits … And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:7,13)

“And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” (Matthew 10:1)

“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:6-8)

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

If you will notice, every time Jesus gave His apostles the power and command to go out and walk with His anointing, He always told them to cast out demons as one of His specific commands – no exceptions!

So if Jesus was constantly casting out demons, always telling the apostles to cast out demons, and the apostles too were always casting out demons, then it should only be logical that the Church should continue to still cast out demons when needed.

It has been estimated by many Bible scholars that approximately 25% of the miracles Jesus had performed were Him casting demons out of people. Satan and his demons are not confined to the Bottomless Pit at this time. This event will not happen until Jesus returns back to us in His second coming. Until that event happens, Satan and his demons are still free to roam in the “air” seeking who they are going to try and devour next.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV)

There is a real war going on between God and the devil for all of our souls. And in this war are real, live, demonic spirits who will come after people, especially Christians – and they will try to get away with inflicting as much death, terror, destruction, and oppression as they possibly can.

We are to walk in the anointing, the power, and authority that Jesus has already given to each one of us through His Holy Spirit. Demonic spirits do know who is walking in Jesus’ anointing, power and authority. See an example of this, below:

“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Acts 19:13-20 (NIV)

Ellicott’s Commentary: (15) Jesus I know, and Paul I know . . .—Better, Jesus I acknowledge. The two verbs are different in the Greek, the one implying recognition of authority, the latter, as colloquially used, though originally it had a stronger meaning, a more familiar acquaintance. The possessed man, identifying himself, as the Gadarene did, with the demon, stood in awe of the Name of Jesus, when uttered by a man like St. Paul; but who were these seven pretenders, that they should usurp authority over him?

The apostle Paul could not have said it any better when he said that our real battle in this life is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, which are demons and demon powers.

The Bible tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Below, the Word of God tells us how to equip ourselves for battle:

THE ARMOR OF GOD

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

Christians, the victory is already ours!

In Christian † Love, Susan Osten

Excerpts taken from “4 Levels of Spiritual Warfare Against Demonic Spirits” by Michael Bradley.

Why Pain & Suffering

Pain and suffering can help us to learn important lessons in life.

•Pain and suffering can test us to show what we are made of.

•Pain and suffering can help to shape our character.

•Pain and suffering can lead to repentance and salvation.

•Pain and suffering can sometimes help us to trust God.

•Pain and suffering can bring about creativity, resourcefulness and courage.

•Pain and suffering can help us to comfort others who are going through similar pain.

•Bearing pain and suffering well can be an inspiration to others.

•Pain and suffering can have a Divine purpose in preparing us for glory.

•Pain and suffering can prevent us from becoming dangerously proud.

•Sometimes pain and suffering in the life of one person can result in the advancement of the gospel in the life of another person. – Words Worth Listening

God led MOSES out into the wilderness for 40 years.

Why? “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV)

Moses was not allowed to go into the Promise Land because he disobeyed God: Water From the Rock, Numbers 20:1-12 (NIV)

1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.   2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.   3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!   4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here?   5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”   6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.   7 The LORD said to Moses,   8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”   9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him.   10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” 

God told Moses he would die soon. After Moses died, Joshua, who had served Moses from childhood, led the Israelites into the Promised Land.

God told Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

God allowed JOB to suffer agonizing loss and illness and at the same time, he dealt with mockery and condemnatory peers. Job was a blameless, upright and God fearing man in the sight of God.

Why? “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1 (NIV)

“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” Job 1:8-12 (NIVUK)

Jobs suffered agonizing trials and “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:22 (NIV)

PAUL THE APOSTLE lost everything, yet he said…

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 (NIVUK)

SUFFERING FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)

JESUS, God’s Son, Suffered Horribly

Why? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

The Lord, Jesus Christ suffered our punishment for sin and He was crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” Hebrews 2:9-10 (NIV)

Christians, even with our pain and suffering, God wants to use us. What do you think some of our top priorities should be while we are living on earth?  Listed below are some of my thoughts:

Our Love for God: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Imitate Jesus’ Humility: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV)

The Great Commission: Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…”  Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

As Christians, God expects us, within our sphere of influence, to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. If you proclaim to be a Christian, you’re living in a glass house. Your words, lives and deeds are being scrutinized: therefore, we must be sure our lives are Christ-like, in both word and deed. Be sure to listen for the Holy Spirit’s direction when approaching and/or beginning a conversation with people about God’s Gift of Salvation: John 3:16. When I was a baby Christian, I had so much zeal. I couldn’t wait to tell someone about Jesus. I had not yet learned that I needed the Holy Spirit’s help.

In closing, I’d like to encourage all those who are witnessing for Jesus. You may plant the seeds of God’s Word in many lives and God will send other Christians to water those seeds, because our words and Christ-like personality may just be a part of what they need see and hear. You may not always see the end results of sowing the seeds of God’s Word into the lives of your loved ones, friends, coworkers and strangers who happened across your path but don’t let this discourage you, because…

God Word says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

Remember, sharing your testimony with people is important!

The Bible says in Revelation 12:11 (NIVUK) “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

Telling your story can be the overcoming power for someone else. It can symbolize the “blood” that was shed so someone can experience life. Some man, woman, girl or boy needs to hear your story in the midst of his or her painful situation.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

When You’re Seeking Guidance

Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

I ask You to keep speaking truth to me. Sometimes I don’t want to hear it. I want to go my willful way, and I know You’ll just delay me. Then there are other times when Your voice gets drowned out by other sounds around me. It seems there’s always a TV blaring, a computer humming, a cell phone ringing, an alarm beeping, and people complaining. That can make it hard to hear You. But now I’ll focus my spiritual ears on that “still, small voice” of Yours. I’ll listen for your gentle whisper. Keep sending your message of truth in my direction, and I’ll pay attention, because ultimately Yours is the only voice that makes sense. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (CBS)

It must be admitted that a life is properly formed when and only when it is yielded to God. – John Calvin

The Holy Spirit is God, our Helper. This is the ultimate goal of His indwelling. In the ancient language the word for Holy Spirit which is alternately translated, ‘counselor’ or ‘comforter’ actually signifies “called to one’s side.” Therefore the Holy Spirit is He who was called along side of us, to help us.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Sources: AllAboutReflect.org, The Right Prayers For Every Need

The Holy Spirit – Hearing The Voice Of God

Jesus puts it in plain terms, if you belong to Him, you can hear Him. If you believe the Bible then God speaks to you.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 (NIV)

This is a skill that you need to develop over time with practice. The fundamental truth is God loves you, He longs to reach out and talk to you. Even before you received the Holy Spirit, it’s likely that God would have tried talking to you. Most of the time people can’t differentiate or reject it out right, when God speaks. People often think it’s their own mind or they think thoughts like it’s impossible for someone as great as the God of the universe to be interested in talking to them.

God thinks you are important enough to talk to you, He loves you enough to care about the tiny details of your life. The problem most of the time is that we are too busy and have no time for God. Many times even when we hear God, we use logic and reason Him out saying this is not possible.

At times, your sins and your guilt make you feel dirty and unclean, you feel like you are undeserving of this privilege. Keep in mind, God is willing to forgive you and clean you up. Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for you just so that your sins can be forgiven and you can have a relationship with God.

Many people do what they want to do, even when they know it is wrong and only when they run into trouble do they think of God. They look at God as a troubleshooter and not a guide. Others ask God for advice but they end up doing what they wanted to anyway.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

God looks at your heart, if you sincerely long for Him and want to hear Him, he will most certainly answer. Remember for every one step you take towards God, He takes five steps to get closer to you. Throughout the Bible, God has spoken to numerous people in different ways and even today God speaks to millions of people and guides them. God is the same then, now and forever and He is willing to speak to you. Are you willing to listen?

The focus of you spiritual life should be to answer yes to both these questions:

  • Am I looking forward to hearing God with all my heart?
  • Am I willing to obey Him when He speaks to me and guides me?

Life Application

  • God speaks personally to all His children, it is up to you to put in efforts to discern His voice.
  • Don’t look around you into the world for answers, most of the time God speaks to you from within in a still small voice.

3 Ways the Holy Spirit Speaks:

GOD’S WORD: I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

THROUGH GODLY MEN AND WOMEN: The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)

THROUGH THE STILL, SMALL VOICE: The Lord said, “Go out and stand on themountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  I Kings 19:11-12 (NIV)

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Source: Blue Flames

How My Heaveny Father Comforted Me

I was on my way to work, stopping as usual, in a nearby parking lot to read my Bible and pray. I was desperate and in need of help, so I prayed asked God for a miracle.

That same day, at lunch time, I went to get my nails done. While the lady was doing my nails, I closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair and I had a vision. It was like being in a movie theater. I saw a large ball, it was beautiful!  It consisted of glistening  grains  of multicolored sand moving slowly, around inside the ball.

When what I realized what I was seeing, I thought to myself, “I DO NOT HAVE THIS KIND OF IMAGINATION!”  Seconds, after I had that thought, the ball turned into a star, and just like the ball, it consisted of  glistening  multicolored  grains of sand, moving slowly, around inside the star. As I was looking at the star, suddenly, out of the star burst an Angel, wearing light blue and dark blue garments, and she had short blond hair. I was astonished!! The Angel looked right into my eyes and she was smiling at me. Her smile radiated love and compassion, and believe me, that’s an understatement.  I have never seen a smile like that in my entire life. Shaken, I opened my eyes, and shut them, but the Angel was gone.

God did not take away my distressed circumstances; but He gave me an amazing gift, that I will never forget: the FAITH to go on, when I felt like giving up.

Hebrews 1:14 (KJV) “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all those who visit this page who are suffering. Please calm their worries and fears and comfort them. Take care of them on their journey through this life. Strengthen their faith  in You, so that they are confident that You are with them, and that You will guide them through their suffering with Your loving hand.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

In Christ Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

I Thought It Was Impossible!

Several weeks ago, I was reconciling my checking account, and I said to the Lord, “I need a raise!” I was sort of joking with Him because I knew that because of the type of check I receive, no substantial raises would ever be forthcoming.

But, after I asked the Lord for a raise, He said, “Cancel my YMCA membership.” The next day, I drove to the YMCA and canceled my membership. The receptionist told me that I had arrived just in time to stop next month’s bank draft.

The Lord then told me to create an Income and Expense Form, to help me see the big picture, so I did what He said.

A few days later, I went online to make sure that my was deposited. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had received a substantial raise.

Some of you might be asking yourself, “How did she know it was the Lord’s voice telling her to cancel the gym membership and create the form?” It’s because, when I was a baby Christian, my Pastor taught me how important it was to LEARN to listen for God’s voice.

It is very easy to talk to Jesus. He is our BEST FRIEND! Be yourself when you talk to Him.

God can change impossible situations. He sometimes moves mysteriously, but will provide what you need in miraculous ways. Obey Him and do what you can, and God will successfully execute what you can’t.

Sometimes we forget, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (KJV)

Jesus: Our Best Friend

John 15:9-17 (NIV)

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

As believers, we think of Jesus as our Lord and Savior, King, or Master, but rarely do we think of Him as our close friend. We may have difficulty with the concept, but Jesus does not. Once we can grasp what kind of companion He is, we’ll realize that a truly joyful life is possible only through a friendship with Him.

Jesus accepts us. Unconditional acceptance means we can always approach Him, even with our dirty sin baggage. He doesn’t intend to leave us in our present state, and we’re accepted no matter what’s happening in our lives.

Jesus walks through trials with us. God’s promise never to leave or forsake His people is repeated throughout the Scriptures. (See Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5.) That promise is individualized for each believer through Jesus’ companionship. He is our constant encourager and faithful friend during both the good and dark times in our lives.

Jesus is always available. He has no need to sleep, take a dinner break, or go on vacation. Unlike humans, Jesus is never too busy to meet our needs or respond to our prayers.

Jesus listens to us. We can share doubts, tears, and joys with the Lord because He wants to hear from us. Whatever we say—even angry shouts and tears—will be met with His consistent assurance that He loves us, has a plan for us, and will rescue us if necessary. And He goes beyond mere listening: He speaks through the Scriptures. In the Word, we’ll find His answer to every circumstance we face.

As the old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

Source: InTouch

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

A Childlike Faith

A Childlike Faith

By Leslie Snyder

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:3

I overheard some four and five-year-old children following their teacher in a familiar cheer. “Give me a J,” cheered the teacher. “J,” yelled the children. “Give me an “E,” encouraged the teacher. “E,” yelled the children. The teacher continued, “Give me an “S.” “S,” chorused the children. Their voices grew louder as the teacher led them to the final letters of “U” and “S.” Together they said J-E-S-U-S! With excitement rising, the teacher shouted, “What’s that spell?” A strange pause followed and one child finally answered, “I don’t know.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the innocence of the answer.

Kids are like that. They believe what you tell them, celebrate the simple joys of discovery and become excited when given new ideas and experiences. That is the joy of a childlike faith. Unfortunately, something happens between childhood and adulthood that changes everything. Expectations, pains, failures and disappointments enter the picture and the once joyous innocence of childhood becomes marred. Faith can slowly gives way to cynicism, and hearts that were once open and filled to overflowing become closed, cold and empty.

Jesus calls us, however, to return to a childlike faith. The late author Mike Yaconelli wrote of this “place all children know about.” “This voice of our childhood is the voice of wonder and amazement, the voice of God, which has always been speaking to us, even before we were born.” He then describes what happens when things change. “One sad day, we are aware of an absence. We can no longer hear the God-voice, and we are left with only silence–not a quiet silence, but a roaring silence.”*

Yaconelli suggested the reason we stopped hearing God’s voice was not because we wanted to stop hearing it, but that our lives became louder. I am convinced that children have an innate ability to hear the voice of God and it is that clarity which makes it easy to believe. As we go through life, other noise enters the scene and muffles the once-clear voice of God. Now we must spend the rest of our lives “clearing the air” in order to return to the simple clarity of our childhood.

Jesus invites us to come to Him as little children, eager to be with Him, to simply enjoy His presence. Today, take some time to remember the simple pleasures of childhood. Laugh out loud, sing too loud, lighten your step a little and remember Who waits to share this time with you.

Sometimes children say it the best. Consider this child’s prayer: “Dear God, I don’t ever feel alone since I found out about you.” Nora**

Characteristics of Childlike Faith

By Barnabas Piper

Childish and childlike are similar words with vastly different meanings. The former encapsulates all the worst things about children – petulance, immaturity, obnoxiousness, selfishness, and so on. It is antithetical to faith.

The latter, though, describes all the beautiful things about children – trust, joy, innocence, curiosity, wonder, forgiveness, and so much more. This word, childlike, is the flavor our faith in God ought to have. What follows are five characteristics of childlike faith that make faith robust, rich, and full of life. Like a child.

1) Children ask honest questions.

By honest questions I mean questions that do not challenge or subvert or undermine. They simply want to know the truth. Yes, children are sinful and do challenge authority, but think of their curious questions, their eager questions, their innocent question. Each one has a single motive: teach me.

We forget this as adults because we encounter (or ask) so many loaded questions – questions with ulterior motives, meant to challenge, designed to undermine or embarrass. We become passive aggressive with our questions or just confrontational.

Children are not like this. They are just eager to know truth.

Childlike faith asks honest questions.

2) Children ask openly.

Unlike adults, children do not fear for their reputation or image and do not care who is around when they ask a question. This can create some awkward situations when they wonder “why is that lady wearing that” or get curious in the feminine care aisle at Target.

But they simply want to know and think nothing at all of who knows they have a question. There is no shame and no embarrassment until we teach them to be embarrassed.

Children also focus only on the one they are asking with complete trust that an answer will be forthcoming. This is part of the reason they ask so openly; they are only thinking of one person, the one who can provide their answer.

Imagine if we prayed like this and were so singly focused on God that what others thought or who else might know of our questions, ignorance, worries, or doubts would be of no consequence.

Childlike faith asks openly.

3) Children ask from a place of vulnerability with the expectation of an answer.

When they are little children see parents as omniscient. They expect parents to know everything, but over time are forced to come to grips with all the things parents don’t know.

Children instinctively know that their knowledge is limited, even if they can’t articulate it; that’s why they ask so many blasted questions. So to find out Dad and mom can’t answer all their questions takes a position of vulnerability and makes it feel uncertain and tenuous.

They start with total trust then grow out of it.

We don’t have to grow out of vulnerability and total trust in God, though. We can grow in it. Unlike parents, God does know everything, including so much that is beyond our capacity to ask or understand.

We can be utterly dependent, or rather admit our dependence. We can be completely vulnerable, honest, and open with our questions and we can expect that God will answer us with precisely what we need. Childlike faith is that which knows we don’t know, knows He does, and asks with the expectation that the answer He gives will be the right one.

We can be confident that even in our weakness, God’s grace is sufficient.

4) Children do not know what is best for them most of the time, but they trust their parents.

Parents generally know what is best for kids, or at least they know better than kids do. No candy for breakfast, don’t play in the street, don’t eat that glue, don’t poke the cat, eat your veggies, do your homework, don’t hit your sister.

Children get frustrated with these commands even though they are for their good just like we get frustrated with how God knows what is best for us and commands us accordingly.

Children don’t always understand why parents say “no” or “do this.” Often the reason is simply beyond their maturity or capacity for understanding. And despite griping and moaning, if parents are loving and generally stable, kids trust them. Kids have an incredible capacity for trust. We understand even less about God’s reasons because of the depth and breadth of His wisdom and in the infinity of His mind. And we certainly gripe and moan and outright rebel against Him and occasionally throw a tantrum too. But because of His Word, His character, His promises, and all the ways He has shown His love we can absolutely trust Him.

Childlike faith trusts the parents.

5) Children trust and find satisfaction with parents.

Even if children are frustrated or confused by parents, so long as the parents show love the children will trust them deeply and take pleasure in their presence. Kids are home with parents.

Three years ago my family moved from Illinois to Tennessee. At the time my daughters were seven and four, and the move was pretty smooth for them. They were happy throughout the process with just a couple exceptions. That’s because they were with their parents. They were safe and loved and secure.

Imagine if we had handed them each a duffel bag and a bus ticket and sent them to Tennessee. It would have killed them, maybe literally.

How much more should we take pleasure in God’s presence even when we cannot understand His reasons and the future seems terribly uncertain.

We know His love, shown for us in Jesus that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. We know His promises: I will never leave you or forsake you, I will be with you always, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ, fear not for I am with you.

God is the answer to our questions and doubts and the soothing for our anxieties. His presence and love is what we need, always.

Children get this. They understand so little yet they are so much more right than we are. We have grown out of faith in so ways.

Childlike faith finds satisfaction with parents.

I pray this teaching was a blessing to you.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

My Heavenly Father’s Gift To Me

For me, it was a time of disappointed. I felt deserted because I was left out of something important to me.

Several days later, I was working around the my house, and I began to think about buying a talking bird to keep me company. I started talking to my heavenly Father about it. I told Him about all the reasons why I couldn’t afford a talking bird. My mom had several talking birds in our home throughout the years; therefore, I knew what good company they could be. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to  spend several hundred dollars to buy a talking bird, so I asked my heavenly Father to send one to me.

No more than two days later, I was in my front yard, sweeping the curb, and I looked up into a nearby tree and saw a green bird. As soon as I noticed it, the bird flew down and landed on my driveway, in front of me. It let me pick it up, so I took it into my house, put it in the bathroom, closed the door and went to the pet store, to buy food and a cage for the my bird.

I didn’t know what kind of bird it was, so I described it to one of the employees at the pet store, and they told me that I had just adopted a talking Quaker Parakeet, which I named Crackers. He lived with me until he died, 10 years later. I was so very touched, and I was also stunned that my heavenly Father, not only answered my prayer, but He answered it in two days.

God’s word says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

It showed me how much our heavenly Father loves me and cares about everything that concerns me. He will give you the desires of your heart, too!

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Above is a picture of me with my Crackers.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Trust Issues

“She would never be caught unprepared again, she swore to herself. She would never trust. Never love. Never put faith in other human beings again. She would learn all she could of the shape and substance of the world, and she would find a way to survive in it.”― David Anthony Durham,  Acacia: The War with the Mein   

We try to trust the people we love, giving them our love and support, only to be grieved by broken trust when we least expect it.

“In God alone there is faithfulness, and faith in the trust that we may hold to Him, to His promise and to His guidance. To hold to God is to rely on the fact that God is there for me, and to live in this certainty.”  – Karl Barth

Discovering The Faithfulness of God

The faithfulness of God is true and has been proven many times. In the Holy Scriptures, we can see that God is faithful and His Word is true. Hebrews 6:18 says God cannot lie, nor can He break an unconditional promise that He says He will fulfill. Every covenant He made is kept. Every promise or foretelling has or will come true. Testimony after testimony of God’s faithfulness is certainly found throughout the Bible and is still given in testimonies by people today.

In fact, accounts of covenants between God and His people can be found approximately 277 times in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Faithfulness of God – Examples

The faithfulness of God is starkly evident in His relationship with the Hebrew/Jewish people. God made a land covenant with Abraham (patriarch of many nations) and has never withdrawn what He has promised. Though the Jewish people have been scattered around the world, God promised they would return to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all their descendants (Zechariah 8:7-8).

Among God’s fulfilled promises was that the people of Israel would again become a nation in the land He says is theirs. This prophecy made in the Old Testament was fulfilled in May of 1948. Since then, the Jewish people have been returning home.

More examples of God’s faithfulness to keep His covenants with others are found in the following verses:

  • To Noah (God will save Noah and his family) – Genesis 6:17-18; 9:9-17
  • To Ishmael (God will bless Ishmael and his descendants) – Genesis 17:18-20
  • To Moses (God will spare the Israelites if they obey) – Exodus 19:5
  • To Jacob (God reaffirms everlasting covenant to Israel) – Psalm 105:10

There are literally dozens more scriptures of God’s faithfulness. None however may be the most life-changing as those that proclaim His forgiveness of our sins. There are many Old Testament prophecies promising a coming Messiah or Savior. God’s faithful promise was fulfilled in the New Testament when He sent Jesus to atone for our sins. No matter what sins we have committed, no matter how “bad” we are, God is faithful to forgive us if we accept Jesus and repent of our sins. • God sent His Son, (Matthew 1:21-22) through Him we have everlasting life – John 3:16

  • Christ died for our atonement of sin – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
  • God’s promise to remove sins – Romans 11:25-27
  • God ordained Jesus, author of eternal salvation – Hebrews 5:5-10
  • God will toss our sin into the depths of the sea (never to be remembered again) – Micah 7:18-19

Faithfulness of God – The Promises

God is so faithful that anyone who seeks Him can find Him. Faith is a gift, but even a gift must be opened to be enjoyed. As we implement our faith, we begin to realize more and more about God’s faithfulness to us.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:9 – “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3 – “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

In 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With absoluteness we can have the confidence that God will forgive us. Without His ability to do so, He would not be God. He is the only true God (John 17:3) and the gods of no other religion promises this. Since He has made this promise, and we know He cannot break His word, we know that it would be contrary to His nature and that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). Our God is a faithful God and there is no other that can do all He can and has done.

I pray this teaching touched your hurting heart. We have all placed our trust in a loved one or friend, only to be grieved by broken trust when we least expect it. God moved me from Texas to Florida, leaving everyone behind, so that I wouldn’t ever be hurt in that same way again, which I haven’t talked about yet, because it’s very hard to talk about.

There is peace in my life now, and I am working hard for my Heavenly Father, which is something that would have been impossible, had I not moved. After I was settled down, God began to show me things about my life and the people I left behind. Maybe you can’t leave the state, but I encourage you to take time away from everyone and take a good look at your life, this is a very important thing to do. It enables you to see things about your life and those  involved in your life that otherwise, you would have never known.

TRUST your Heavenly Father, He will never let you down.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

The Purpose Of The Holy Spirit On Earth

The primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to strengthen each believer and endow them with power and boldness so that they become witnesses for Christ.  The Holy Spirit lovingly watches over, encourages, nourishes and grows the church.

“I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.  But stay in the city until you are clothed Luke 24:29

This is what Jesus tells his disciples, he first asks them to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, but asks them to wait till they receive the promise (Holy Spirit) which will give them power which they need to spread the Gospel.  It is dangerous and ineffective trying to preach Jesus to people when you yourself do not have the Holy Spirit.

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness John 16:8

Jesus also says that the Holy Spirit will show the world what sin is, how to lead righteous lives and share knowledge about the judgement of God.  This is important as without knowing what sin is, people see the need to repent.  Without sin there is no meaning for what Jesus did on the cross for us.  The next step after repentance is righteousness, once you know you are wrong and sorry, you begin to wonder what is the right way to do things.  The Word of God is the authority when it comes to righteousness.  Finally, the Spirit will also warn men of the final judgement of God.

Biblical Inspiration

The Apostles John and Peter were walking into a synagogue to preach the Gospel to the Jews there.  As they were entering they saw a man who was lame from birth.  This man was carried and put by the gates to the synagogue every day so that he may beg and survive on alms that the people offered him.  He was well known in the temple circles as he was a regular there.  When this man saw Peter and John he immediately asked them for alms.

Peter observed this man and saw that he had faith, he told this man that he does not have silver or gold but what he has he is willing to share.  He then told the man “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  As Peter spoke these words this man felt strength flow into his limbs, for the first time he was able to stand up.

He went into the temple with Peter and John and was jumping around praising God, along the way.  All the people who were at the temple were shocked and amazed.  They knew who the man was, but could not believe their eyes when they saw him healed.

This gave Peter and John an opportunity to preach the Gospel to the masses.  That day alone, five thousand people started believing in Jesus and were saved.  The next day the two Apostles were given another chance to preach the Gospel before the religious leaders of the time and once again the Holy Spirit gave them the exact words to speak.  The council was surprised with how two illiterate men, could know so much about the scriptures.

This is an example of how the Holy Spirit reached so many people and grew the church through two men who were willing to be led.

Life Application

  • You will not be successful if you try to influence the world without the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit teaches you the importance of a church and the value God places on the souls of other people.
  • He shows people what sin is and why they need the Gospel.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Source: Blue Flames

The Fear of God – The Beginning of Understanding

Throughout the Jewish scriptures we learn that “the fear of God is the beginning of understanding… wisdom… knowledge.” Indeed, the fear of God is a primary theme throughout the entire Old Testament:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding (Psalm 111:10).

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me (Job 23:13-16).

“Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.” (Jeremiah 5:22) .

Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11).

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever (Psalm 19:9).

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him (Psalm33:8).

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psalm 34:11)

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Psalm 86:11). Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
The Fear of God – The Real Meaning
In these “Fear of God” scriptures, the word “fear” is derived from Hebrew words such as yir’ah(Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Psalm 2:11; 19:9; 34:11), yare (Psalm 33:8; 86:11; Jeremiah 5:22; Ecclesiastes 12:13) and pachad(Job 23:15), which actually mean “fear,” “terror,” or “dread.” Although many Christian teachers will downplay the “fear of God” and use replacement words such as “respect,” “reverence,” or “honor,” the Hebrew language is pretty clear. In addition, there are other Hebrew words that portray softer meanings, such as kabad (Exodus 20:12) – “Honor your father and your mother…” (Proverbs 3:9) – “Honor the LORD with your wealth…”)
The Fear of God – The Rest of the Story
The good news is that the fear of God is only the beginning of understanding. We’ve got to read the rest of the story! In fact, the great news is that the Love of God reflected through Jesus Christ in the New Testament scriptures has the power to cast out this fear and set us free!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12). But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jesus to His disciples in (John 15:12-13).
The Fear of God – The Love of God
How can we comprehend the utterly Great News of Jesus Christ if we don’t first appreciate the fear of God? Without total awe, wonder, terror, dread, reverence, and respect for a perfectly holy, righteous, and just Creator, can we truly appreciate what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did for us on Calvary’s cross?
It ultimately comes down to perspective and position. Who is God and what is my perspective on His nature, power, and justice? Who am I and what is my human position relative to this Almighty God?
Once we understand and accept the entire story, we can walk out our lives in a special appreciation of co-existing truths — the “Fear of God” and the “Love of God.”

Let those who fear the LORD say: His love endures forever (Psalm 118:14).

The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:1).

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water (Revelation 14:7).

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Source: All About God @ allaboutgod.com

Finding God’s Will The Right Way

“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Isaiah 8:19-20 (NIV)

There is a sad story in the Old Testament about such a situation. King Saul wants to know God’s will. He is faced with battling the mighty Philistine army and is afraid for the outcome. He goes to the high priest first to inquire of God, but God, does not answer. So he seeks out a medium and begs her to call up the prophet Samuel from the dead. She is reluctant, since all spiritualists have been driven from the land and forbade from practicing divination. But finally she relents. Samuel appears and not only gives Saul the will of God, but a heartbreaking reprimand (because of the wrong way he is going about finding God’s will). Saul’s army will not only lose to the Philistines, but Saul and his sons will lose their lives.

The law and the covenant is the Word of God. The answers for our lives are in the Bible. Jesus encourages us “Seek and you will find ” (Matthew 7:7). Mediums and fortune tellers don’t have God’s voice. The Bible warns against them. God’s will for our lives is in God’s Word and it is good, anywhere, any time.

In Christ’s Love and †Grace, Susan

Source: Daily Bible Inspirations

My Mom’s Battle With Scleroderma – Educational Read

What is Scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a rare, debilitating autoimmune disease for which there is NO CURE. Scleroderma is often progressive and sometimes, fatal. It affects every age and gender and it’s neither preventable or contagious. It confuses the best of the medical field by making it difficult to diagnose. Scleroderma attacks the Circulatory System, cutting off blood flow to extremities, resulting in Gangrene and amputation. It affects the Gastrointestinal Tract, Heart, Kidneys, Lungs, and the Esophagus. Scleroderma causes hardening, thickening, and tightening of the skin which oftentimes, causes devastating results to one’s facial appearance and one’s mobility. Scleroderma steals people’s freedom, jobs, friends, families, and lives.

Mom’s Battle With Scleroderma

By Susan Osten

PRELUDE: I have a childhood friend, who has been coding invoices for hospitals for years. The day of my mother’s surgery, she was working in a hospital in Pasadena, which was not too far away from the hospital my mom was in. When I called her and told her my mom was having her legs amputated shortly, she asked me, “What hospital was she in?” I told her the name of the hospital, and she said, “Get her out of that hospital, ASAP!” She seemed frantic! She also said, “Get her tested for MRSA as soon as possible.” After I hung up the phone, I asked the first nurse that came into my mom’s room to test her for MRSA. The test was negative.

(MRSA) stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.)

I found myself between a rock and a hard place. My family was not going to allow me to move her, and if they did allow me to move her, where would she go? The insurance company calls the shots, and they would have to approve the move. After my mom’s surgery, I told the nurse in ICU to start the antibiotics as soon as possible. I also told her that my mom has Scleroderma and she easily contracts infections. The nurse said to me, “The doctor hasn’t put the order in yet.”

My mom tested positive for MRSA, several days after surgery. I was beside myself. 😦

About four days after her surgery, the doctor told us that, “The infection (MRSA) had colonized and had spread throughout her body and there was nothing else they could do for her.” MRSA contributed to my mom’s early death.

Mom8

My mom’s name was Gillian Rose Heath. She was diagnosed with Scleroderma in 1995.

Before the diagnosis, mom became very ill. She went to see her Primary Care Physician, and he referred her to a Rheumatologist, who diagnosed her with Scleroderma. He prescribed 40 mg of Prednisone, to make her feel better. The Rheumatologist told my mom that, “She could live three years, ten years, or even sixteen years with this disease.”

Some of mom’s early symptoms of Scleroderma were little red dots on the palms of her hands, very stiff joints, weight loss and frailty.

When the Prednisone took effect, she was up and walking around like there was nothing wrong with her. Mom’s condition improved, so the doctor was able to gradually decrease the dose of Prednisone to 5 mg. Mom functioned very well for a few years, taking only 5 mg. of Prednisone, but as the years passed, mom started to developed significant symptoms of Scleroderma.

A major artery in the right side of her neck was 70% blocked, so she had surgery to remove the blockage. The artery on the left side of her neck was only 30% blocked, and it didn’t warrant surgery. Mom also had to have surgery on one of her fingers, to remove a bone that was growing through the tip of her finger.

Her fingers were stiff and turned white in the cold. She began to develop ulcers on her finger tips, and she began to have severe problems with her Gastrointestinal Tract.

After a month or two, dad noticed mom talking, but making no sense, and after a few minutes, she would be back to normal. She had a few of those episodes. She then began to have seizures, so the doctor prescribed Dilanton to control the seizures. While mom was in the hospital, the doctor could not get the Dilanton to the proper level in her bloodstream. The doctor was constantly taking blood samples, and raising the dosage of the Dilanton.

My dad became very frustrated, so he took a list of mom’s medications to their neighborhood Walgreen’s Pharmacist, to seek help. The Pharmacist was very helpful. He informed my dad that you cannot take supplemental Calcium and Dilanton at the same time because it greatly reduces the absorption of the Dilanton in the bloodstream. Dad provided the doctor with the information, and he made the necessary changes. The Dilanton in mom’s bloodstream reached the proper level. The seizures stopped.

Mom was feeling better, so she went to get her hair done. She fell down walking from the car to the beauty salon. She was in extreme pain, so an ambulance was called to take her to the ER. The technician x-rayed her hip, and the doctor said, “There were no broken bones.” She was released from the hospital. When mom and dad got home, mom couldn’t get out of the car. Every time my dad tried to move her, she would scream. My dad telephoned me and asked me to come over, and help him get her out of the car and into the house.

We used a kitchen chair for her to sit on, and we put a little board with wheels under her feet. We started scooting her towards the house. It took us over an hour to get mom from the car into her bed. The next morning, my sister came to see how mom was doing, and she heard that mom had not moved all night. Dad called an ambulance to take mom back to the ER.

When the ambulance arrived, they put mom on a stretcher. The pain mom experienced while being lifted onto the stretcher, triggered a severe seizure.

In the ER, the technician took another x-ray of her hip, and he found that mom’s hip was indeed, broken, so they scheduled Mom for hip surgery.

All went well. Mom’s hip healed in no time, and she left the hospital to go to a nursing home/rehabilitation center. After she finished rehab she went home.

Several months went by, and she noticed that her big toe on her left foot was turning black. She went to several doctors. When all was said and done, she was referred to a surgeon.

The surgeon ordered a Doppler for her legs. The test indicated that there was no blood circulation in either leg. The surgeon recommended amputation below the knee on her left leg, because of the black toe. The surgery was performed, and once again, mom went into rehab, and then home.

After several weeks at home, her left stump turned Gangrene, and the big toe, on her right foot started to turn black. We consulted her surgeon, who recommended amputating both legs above the knee.

While I was in ICU with my mom, I asked the attending nurse to start the antibiotics ASAP. I told her my mom had Scleroderma, and easily contracted infections. The nurse told me the surgeon had not yet written the order. The antibiotics were finally, administered about 30 minutes after they took her to her room. While mom was in the hospital, recuperating from the double amputation, she fought one infection after the other. Some of the stitches broke in her left stump, the day after surgery. The surgeon would not stitch up her leg. He said he would have to cut off more of her leg in order to stitch it. He said mom couldn’t take another surgery.

We were left to look, with great concern, at a unbandaged, gaping wound that wouldn’t heal. I believe it was during this time, mom contracted MRSA. After about four days, we were informed by the doctor that the infection (MRSA) had colonized, and had spread throughout mom’s body. The doctor said that there was nothing further they could do for her.

After about a week, she was released to go to rehab. In rehab, mom became very ill and she was sent back to the hospital. We received a poor prognosis. She was released from the hospital into home hospice care. Shortly, thereafter, she passed away.

My mom was a fighter and very courageous throughout the whole ordeal. Scleroderma killed my mom by aggressively, attacking her Circulatory System. It cut off blood flow to her brain, her legs and arms. Mom was seventy-eight years old when she died, on April 12, 2011. She lived with Scleroderma for sixteen years.

NOTE: This is a narrative of my experience and no recommendations are given or implied.

Please help us “Raise Awareness” of Scleroderma, by sharing Help End Scleroderma’s † posts on social media, and with your family members, friends and co-workers.
The more peaple who are aware and educated about Scleroderma, helps raise our HOPES for a CURE.

On behalf of all those suffering with Scleroderma, “Thank You!”

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

God Doesn’t Make Sense by Bill Sweeney

The fact that God’s nature was difficult for me to understand used to be a real challenge to my faith. This was especially true after being diagnosed with ALS. I don’t remember ever asking God “Why me?” but I naturally wondered why God would allow this or any other horrible disease to strike anyone. I began to rethink everything I knew, or thought I knew, about this being we call God.

One of the first things I studied was the Christian definition of God; the Christian belief that God is made up of three separate beings (Father, Son and Spirit) that are actually one being. This doesn’t make sense! I have heard many different analogies that attempted to explain this concept of this three-in-one God by everyone from children’s church pastors to highly-educated Theologians, but I still don’t get it! I know better than anyone that I’m far from being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but after many years of trying to figure out this concept of what we simply call the Trinity, I’ve concluded that no one is able to explain this Triune God in terms that are understandable to even the razor-sharp knives among us. And, I’m now okay with this because – If we were able to understand God in human terms, He wouldn’t be God; He’d be a man.

C.S. Lewis was one of the best Christian apologists of the twentieth century, but before becoming a follower of Christ, he was an outspoken atheist. He concluded that there was no God because the idea of God didn’t make sense to him. He wondered why a supposedly loving God would allow his mother to die when he was just ten years old. He also wondered why a God that claims to care so much for His creation would permit the horrors he witnessed as a soldier in World War One. I imagine a lot of people asked similar questions after seeing innocent people being killed and maimed in Boston and in West, Texas. But, ironically, it was also this seemingly nonsensical nature of God that brought Lewis back to the God of Christianity.

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
As a professor at Oxford, Lewis and some other professors, including his fellow professor and friend, the author J.R.R. Tokien (Lord of the Rings) formed a group where they would meet and discuss Philosophy, Theology and other “Big issues.” Tolkien was a Christian and he began challenging Lewis’ conclusions about God. Like me and so many others that have come to a crossroad, Lewis began to rethink his beliefs about this mysterious God.

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

 

As a professor at Oxford, Lewis and some other professors, including his fellow professor and friend, the author J.R.R. Tokien (Lord of the Rings) formed a group where they would meet and discuss Philosophy, Theology and other “Big issues.” Tolkien was a Christian and he began challenging Lewis’ conclusions about God. Like me and so many others that have come to a crossroad, Lewis began to rethink his beliefs about this mysterious God.

Lewis also came to the conclusion that mere mortals were unable to fully comprehend what we call the Trinity. And, like me and those who understand the implications of this conclusion, this idea of an incomprehensible God intrigued Lewis. He eventually ditched his “simple” atheism and turned to a complex God.

He wrote: “On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings… On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine…If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about…Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn’t have guessed. That’s one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed.”

Why do we expect to understand why God allows tragedy and heartache when we cannot even comprehend the makeup of God? We haven’t yet even figured out why people do the things they do. God sees the Big Picture – the eternal picture, the picture that we’re incapable of seeing. For that reason alone we should give Him the benefit of the doubt when tragedy strikes.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

About Bill Sweeney
In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ – Unshakable Hope!

 

 

 

Faith Without Works is Dead

Why is Faith Without Works Dead?

Answer: James says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Faith without works is a dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. There are many verses that say that true saving faith will result in a transformed life, that faith is demonstrated by the works we do. How we live reveals what we believe and whether the faith we profess to have is a living faith.

James 2:14–26 is sometimes taken out of context in an attempt to create a works-based system of righteousness, but that is contrary to many other passages of Scripture. James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works. Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or dead faith and is not saved. Paul basically says the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. James contrasts two different types of faith—true faith that saves and false faith that is dead.

Many profess to be Christians, but their lives and priorities indicate otherwise. Jesus put it this way: “By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers’” (Matthew 7:16–23).

Notice that the message of Jesus is the same as the message of James. Obedience to God is the mark of true saving faith. James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab to illustrate the obedience that accompanies salvation. Simply saying we believe in Jesus does not save us, nor does religious service. What saves us is the Holy Spirit’s regeneration of our hearts, and that regeneration will invariably be seen in a life of faith featuring ongoing obedience to God.

Misunderstanding the relationship of faith and works comes from not understanding what the Bible teaches about salvation. There are really two errors in regards to works and faith. The first error is “easy believism,” the teaching that, as long as a person prayed a prayer or said, “I believe in Jesus,” at some point in his life, then he is saved, no matter what. So a person who, as a child, raised his hand in a church service is considered saved, even though he has never shown any desire to walk with God since and is, in fact, living in blatant sin. This teaching, sometimes called “decisional regeneration,” is dangerous and deceptive. The idea that a profession of faith saves a person, even if he lives like the devil afterwards, assumes a new category of believer called the “carnal Christian.” This allows various ungodly lifestyles to be excused: a man may be an unrepentant adulterer, liar, or bank robber, but he’s saved; he’s just “carnal.” Yet, as we can see in James 2, an empty profession of faith—one that does not result in a life of obedience to Christ—is in reality a dead faith that cannot save.

The other error in regards to works and faith is to attempt to make works part of what justifies us before God. The mixture of works and faith to earn salvation is totally contrary to what Scripture teaches. Romans 4:5 says, “To him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.” There is no conflict between these two passages. We are justified by grace through faith, and the natural result of faith in the heart is works that all can see. The works that follow salvation do not make us righteous before God; they simply flow from the regenerated heart as naturally as water flows from a spring.

Salvation is a sovereign act of God whereby an unregenerate sinner has the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” poured out on him (Titus 3:5), thereby causing him to be born again (John 3:3). When this happens, God gives the forgiven sinner a new heart and puts a new spirit within him (Ezekiel 36:26). God removes his sin-hardened heart of stone and fills him with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit then causes the saved person to walk in obedience to God’s Word (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

Faith without works is dead because it reveals a heart that has not been transformed by God. When we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, our lives will demonstrate that new life. Our works will be characterized by obedience to God. Unseen faith will become seen by the production of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22). Christians belong to Christ, the Good Shepherd. As His sheep we hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:26–30).

Faith without works is dead because faith results in a new creation, not a repetition of the same old patterns of sinful behavior. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

In Christian † Love, Susan Osten

by “Got Questions”

How Can We Have Hope When Everything Looks Hopeless?

How Can We Have Hope When Everything Looks Hopeless?

In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says that we can rejoice in our sufferings because we are a people of hope: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3–5, ESV)

So, how can we have hope when everything looks hopeless? In the midst of suffering, we can rejoice because these challenges cause us to:

1. Rely on God’s presence

Rejoicing in suffering does not mean celebrating when bad news comes. But, it does mean that we can believe that God is doing a redemptive work. This word “redemptive” means that God does not waste a hurt or disappointment. He is using them to shape and build us into the image of Jesus, which is his highest passion.

When we go through suffering, we often pray and seek God more intensely than at other times. My greatest times of growth have been when I’ve reached the end of my resources and all I have left is Jesus. God uses suffering to make us rely on His presence.

In Psalm 23:4, David writes that he does not fear because God is with him. He relies on God’s presence, and it brings him strength and comfort. Remember that for there to be a shadow, there has to be a light. I don’t know what your “valley of the shadow of death” is, but I do know who the Light is that is walking with you in that valley.

In another Psalm, David reveals that one of the reasons for his joy is that he is forgiven. (Ps. 31:1, NIV). We can’t determine God’s love for us based on good or bad circumstances. We determine His love based on the cross and what He did for us on it.

2. Rely on God’s provision

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reveals that he has suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.” God was so concerned about Paul not becoming proud he allowed this to happen to him to prevent him from becoming conceited.

In our current situations, God is saying to us that His grace is sufficient, and even when we feel weak, He is making us stronger than we have ever been. His grace is not an abstract idea. It is the person of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hell you are going through may be the very circumstance God uses to take you to a whole new level.

3. Rely on God’s power

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9b, ESV).

What is your weakness? Maybe it is a son or a daughter that hasn’t quite turned out the way you thought he or she would. A job situation that has gone awry. A medical diagnosis that has scared you. Maybe, like Paul, it is also insults, hardships, or persecutions. Whatever it is, Paul says he will boast in those things because when we are weak, the power of Christ rests on us.

The greater the enemy comes at you, the greater Jesus is in you.
Maybe you hear voices telling you to just quit, give up, and let it go.

DON’T STOP! When you are weak, then He is strong. Remember the greater the attack against you, the greater Christ is in you, but you have to rely on His Presence, His Provision and His Power.

Write down what you are suffering from or struggling with and place it in an envelope. On the outside, write, “God’s got this, and He is transforming me.” Now when that challenge comes to mind remember to rely on Him.

-Derwin L. Gray, Gospel Of Grace

Parable of the Sower

On this earth are billions of people who have never, even once, heard God’s Word from the Bible spoken to them. There are millions like that just in America alone. Probably right in your neighborhood are people with no hope, with seemingly unsolvable troubles, going through terrible trials, yet who have never heard the powerful answers God has for them. I want to encourage you to determine personally to be one of Jesus’ faithful “sowers [who] sow the word.” People’s lives and eternity are in the balance.

Mark 4:3-14, KJV …Behold, there went out a sower to sow… [8] And other [seed] fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred… [14] The sower soweth the word.

“The sower soweth the word,” said Jesus. And that Word of God, He said, produces fruit, “a crop.” The Lord is telling us in these parables to share His Word with people, and it has the potential to bear fruit in their lives and to lead to an abundant harvest.

Matthew 13:1-23 (KJV)

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

He has commissioned us to be seed-sowers. The field is the world, Jesus said in another parable (Matthew 13:38). Christ’s command that we be sowers of the seed of His Word in all the world, is an early hint at His later Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s similar in Luke 24:49, where Jesus directs His disciples into ministry in which “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan

Excerpts from Pastor Jim Feeny’s sermon entitled “The Sower Sows the Word. You Can Too and Harvest a Crop.”

How Do We “Live The Abundant Life” Jesus Promised?

Living the abundant life that Jesus promised us includes facing our challenges, overcoming our obstacles, and walking patiently, with hope, through our sufferings and sorrows. Persevering through life’s struggles is vital to our Christian growth. It will not be easy, so we must believe in ourselves, and God’s Word which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

God’s protection is not like a magic force field that keeps us from all adversity. We must keep in mind that we live in a fallen world, and we have a free will. We are capable of creating our own troubles when our decisions do not include God, and they are not well thought out. When we reap the consequences of those decisions, we expect God to bail us out.

On the other hand, accidents will happen, and difficult situations that we have no control over will arise in our lives. During those times, we need to remember God’s promises of protection, provision, and comfort – He is faithful to His Word! Jesus warned that we would have troubles in this World: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God works in ways that we cannot comprehend. I can give you some scenarios of God’s protection, such as: His protection might come in the form of peace and strength in the middle of despair, or it might come as an ending because He sees something more on the horizon that we cannot see.

All we need to understand is that as a believer in Jesus, we are promised a new life covered under the protection of God in which NOTHING can separate us from His love. We can rest knowing that no matter what hardship we face, God is our protector, provider, and comforter!

Why does God allow us to experience suffering and sorrow?

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:6 (NIV), “Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same.” Unless we know the personal results of God’s comfort in our tribulations we are not able to comfort others in their trials. To have compassion is to enter in alongside of the other person. Suffering enables us to better understand the needs of others.

Prayer for Fear and Anxiety

Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the truths buried inside. My trust in You fades into the background, giving fear and concerns permission to discourage me.

In those moments of apprehension, help me remember that I belong to You, and that You are not the author of fear or anxiety, but the giver of love and a sound mind. Teach me Your ways to respond to problems by giving thanks in them. Your Word assures me that You are always there with me. You are the Blessed Controller of all things, and nothing escapes Your attention in my life. You have given me every tool and spiritual blessing to fight against those things that try to steal my peace. You’ve promised that when I’m stressed and burdens are trying to weigh me down, I can come to You. You will give me sweet rest! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Truck Crashes Into My Dad’s Bedroom

I am sharing this story with you, because I want to stress the importance of praying for protection for your loved-ones.

My dad and step mom usually go to bed after the 10:00 p.m. news, but this particular night, they stayed up later than usual, to watch something that interested them on TV. When all of a sudden, they heard a loud crashing noise. There is a parking lot right behind my dad’s house. The noise they heard was a big, black, pick-up truck smashing through the fence and into their bedroom. The damage was severe. If they had been in the bedroom at that time, they would have likely, been badly injured or even killed.

Dad called the Police, and when they arrived, they questioned the lady who was driving the truck…she was not intoxicated. She told the Officer that she drove through the fence and into my dad’s bedroom because she was mad at her boyfriend. This is what is baffling to me: the Officer did not give her a ticket or reprimand her. The lady, driving the truck, lived just down the street from my dad. All she had to do was to have the truck towed out of the bedroom, and off dad’s property. She said nothing to dad about helping him financially, with the damage, and after the truck was towed, she just left the scene. Thank God, Dad’s Homeowner’s Insurance covered it all.

Since I was a young girl, I’ve prayed for my family’s protection. God answered my prayer that night. I am so very thankful they were distracted. 

I thank God, my mom had already gone home to be with Jesus. Otherwise, she would have been in that bed. She always went to bed very early.

I’ve included three photos of the scene of the crash, that were taken between 11:00 – 12:00 p.m., so that you can see the deadly incident. 

The Armor of God: Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Below is a short prayer, asking God to protect our loved ones:

Dear Lord Jesus, Please keep our families safe from evil and misfortune. Thank You for protecting them when they weren’t even aware that evil was stalking them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Scripture References: Hebrews 1:14; Psalm 103:20; Proverbs 1:20; John16:13; Isaiah 30:21; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 54; Psalm 91; Psalm 37:21

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan

Dad's House Wrecked 1

Dad's House Wrecked2

Dad's House Wrecked3

 

 

Was it God’s Vengeance? You Decide.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.”  Romans 12:19RRoman 12:19 (NIV)

The Bible is very clear about seeking revenge. In Romans 12:19, God tells us to never take revenge and to leave it in the Lord’s hands. God is the ultimate judge and when we seek revenge, we are taking His place. When we become overwhelmed with what others have done wrong, we become filled with anger and find ourselves focused on hate.

I was married when I was seventeen years old, and I became a Christian when I was nineteen years old. Shortly, after I became a Christian, my husband divorced me. I was heartbroken, and the pain from losing him was overwhelming.

There were several circumstances that caused our divorce:

1.) After I became a Christian, my ex-husband told me that he didn’t want anything to do with religion, because his mother made him attend church during his adolescence and he hated it.

2.) After I became a Christian, he started a new job, and met a man named:

Jud, my husband’s friend, started to take him out at night drinking. It escalated to the point that my husband didn’t come home at all at nights when he went drinking with Jud. When I did see my husband, there was nothing I could say or do to stop him from leaving the house to party. Jud was a bad influence in my ex-husband’s life, and it ruined our marriage.

One day, I went to the store and Jud pulled up beside me in his Van. I said nothing to him at all; but, I did tell God, “Jud was hurting me.”

Time passed, and we were divorced. The Bible says, “But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.” 1 Corinthians 7:15 (NLT)

By the time the divorce was finalized, I had found a job working for a man in a one girl office, typing letters and doing his bookkeeping. I had also moved into my own apartment.

The emotional pain began to subside, and between my families’ support, my churches’ support, and the support of my friends, I felt that my life was returning to some sort of normalcy.

One day, not to many months after my divorce, I went into work as usual. I will never forget this: it was about 10:30 in the morning when all of a sudden, I felt this persistent urge to call my ex-husband. I knew that it was the Lord, and I told Him that I didn’t want to call my ex-husband because it would open up old wounds.
The persistent urge continued. I was so frustrated by it that I picked up the phone and called my ex-husband. As soon as he answered, I said, “WHAT IS THE MATTER?” He replied, “Jud is dead.” My heart almost stopped – I couldn’t believe that this was what God wanted me to know. I offered my condolences and hung up the phone.

You may be wondering if I have ever had an experience like that again: the answer is “No.” That experience shocked me – never would I have ever ask God to take a life.

“God’s blessings are endless. It comes every day and sometimes in different forms. Sometimes it comes so big that we become speechless. God is always faithful and I love Him. Thank you Lord for completing yet another important stage in my educational pursuit. It was tough, yet I made it, and made it out excellently. Glory to Him, the giver of all Blessings!” 

– Terry Mark

In God’s Love and †Grace, Susan

My Visit From A Demon

It was the middle of the night, and I was sleeping, and suddenly, I sat up in bed wide-awake. I looked over at my ex-husband, and I saw a demon standing by his bedside, looking down at him. It was so surreal: I experience no fear, just God’s peace. Whatever evil was going on, it was stopped when I woke up.

This creature was transparent, but the outline of its features were vivid. It was about five feet, six inches tall and hairy. Its face was dark, so I could clearly see its eyes, nose, and mouth. It was shaped like a human being.

When it sensed me looking at it – it looked up at me. The demon showed no emotion whatsoever. It turned around, floated out of our bedroom, down the hallway, and out of sight.

This experience was not like any movie I had ever seen. God keeps His promises: Thessalonians 3:3, (NIV) “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Ephesians 6:11-18 (KJV) says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

I Peter 5:8 (KJV) says, Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring Lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

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